Budget Cuts Cause Casting Shake Up at Y&R

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Melody  Thomas Scott (Nikki, Young & the Restless)The current state of the economy is hitting hard everywhere. Even the soaps are feeling the pinch.  Which is why high drama leaves Young and the Restless high and dry. Off screen contract disputes prove to be too dramatic for the number one drama of daytime as the popular soap opera loses two core characters and comes close to losing a third.

Contract disputes with the show seemed to make their way to Melody Thomas Scott and Jess Walton (Nikki Reed-Newman and Jill Foster-Abbott), both long time Genoa City denizens.

Walton was approached by the show first, and asked to take a 40% pay cut. Walton reportedly stormed off set, but later decided to re-new her contract with an undisclosed pay cut to remain on screen.

Scott, however, wasn't so active in her dispute much like the character of Nikki on the show verses Jill, Walton's alter-ego, but Scott didn't come to an agreement. Her refusal to accept a pay cut put her on a recurring status and the show has stated they will not be renewing her contract in March 2010. No word yet on Scott's' exact exit date.

The women aren't the only cast members having trouble with the powers that be at Y&R. Chris Engen (Adam Wilson) was blindsided by a script that required him to lock lips with another male character. Reports state the recently "outted" Rafe, Adam's lawyer and apparent only friend, was the character with which Adam was to share a kiss. Engen is said to have stormed off set and called in sick multiple days following the incident. Engen has expressed in interviews that he felt the show was taking the character in a direction Adam would not have gone. After many, almost too many, random romps with sexy Heather Stevens (Vail Bloom) this viewer and author must agree with Engen's review of the future plans for Adam; who has been recast with Michael Muhney.

For now, Jill will continue to be a thorn in Katherine's side while dealing with wounds from her past. Looks like there won't be a Nikki/Victor reunion, and Adam's antics are catching up with him. What will the dark knight do to his youngest son for gas lighting the not-so-pregnant-anymore Ashley Abbott?

But that's not all.  Lauren (Tracey Bregman) is slotted to die at the end of the summer. Fin, too. She has been on recurring status for four plus years now, and there's that whole budget cut thing. Additionally, it would make for good storyline for much time to come for Michael who has not had a major storyline since shortly after Christmas.

Just like the lives of the characters these talented actors bring to life each day for us, we at Soapdom hope the portrayers who will be leaving the show find the happiness and success they deserve and want. Best of Luck to Melody Thomas Scott. Tracey Bregman and Chris Engen in whatever they pursue in their future careers and personal lives.